WRAL is out with the news this morning that the Department of Health and Human Services has blown a $60 million hole in the state's budget. Budget Director Art Pope and DHHS head Aldona Wos issued a press release this morning, revealing that the state had violated Federal guidelines on Medicaid.
During budget meetings earlier this year, Department of Health and Human Services officials guaranteed lawmakers that they had the Medicaid budget under control and that there would be no late-spring surprises from unexpected cost overruns. While this isn't a billing error or computer glitch like those that have plagued the department in the past, it is a nasty fiscal shock that comes in the middle of the budget process.
"Without that provision, the Senate budget is $60 million out of place," (Republican Senator Ralph) Hise said. The Senate has already completed work on its proposed budget. House budget writers are beginning to put together their proposal. The two documents will have to be reconciled before going to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.
The new Medicaid hole, Hise said, will complicate budget negotiations between the House and Senate.
"This is the basic definition of what is non sustainable, irresponsible and just shows no fiscal responsibility," Hise said, wondering out loud how something like this happens.
We're all wondering how any of this happens.